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Friesen Dominates for Second Consecutive Cole Cup Victory at Utica-Rome Speedway

VERNON, NY - In the 2013 version of the SUNY Canton/Gates Cole Associates Cole Cup Stewart Friesen rallied on the final lap to win the race.  This year’s edition went much differently for the Sprakers, N.Y., driver as he dominated the 30-lap race securing his second win of the event as well as the $10,000 winner’s share.

Making the victory even more special is that husband and wife finished one two.  Friesen and long-time Sprint Car driver Jessica Zemken were married earlier in the week and the duo grabbed the top two spots on the podium on Saturday night.

“Totally unbelievable,” said Friesen in Victory Lane.  “I have to thank Jess (Zemken) for pushing me toward these Sprint Cars.  I have to thank Doug (Emery) and Barb (Patterson), Tommy Patterson and everyone associated with this Doug Emery Motorsports team for all they give us.  Doug tweaked on this car all year just preparing for this race and the notes paid off and for the 1z team to be second is unbelievable.  It caps off a great week for us.” Read More...

For Immediate Release Please - BREAKING NEWS!
September 9, 2014
Written by Doug Zupan

VERNON, NY - 2014 Utica-Rome Speedway NASCAR Modified Track Champion Stewart Friesen of Sprakers is currently deep in the middle of a hotly contested battle for the lucrative $12,000 New York State NASCAR Division 1 Championship and it could be over by now. The situation got real this past Thursday when NASCAR released the updated Whelen All-American Series point standings as of September 1 and Friesen was just one marker ahead of his closest competitor Nick Heywood 570-569.

The NASCAR Whelen All-American Series takes a driver’s best 18 finishes out of any NASCAR Home Track point race within the country. Once a driver hits 19 events and successive, they may throw their worst finish out.  Maximum points are offered to drivers when the track has 18 cars starting the feature and the winner receives bonus points when they start the feature in tenth or back. National points are offered and the drivers also race for state (formerly regional) points.

At Utica-Rome Speedway this season which returned to a NASCAR Home Track sanction for the first time since 1998, Friesen had 18 starts, 6 feature wins, 17 top 5s, and 17 top 10s. His worst finish of 17th was in the second Twin 20 event on May 11.Heywood, who races weekly in the NASCAR Sportsman Modified division at the Airborne Park Speedway in Plattsburgh, had 19 starts, 5 feature wins, 16 top 5s, and 19 top 10s.

In response to the updated standings, as he was preparing for the $10,000 Cole Cup at Utica-Rome on Saturday which he won, Friesen realized he needed to get another start or two in NASCAR Whelen All-American Series action in New York to better his chances for the title and began making calls. Calls to find out what NASCAR tracks in New York still had point events to run and when plus calls to find rides.

Sunday had two NASCAR Whelen All-American Series options - Chemung Speedrome in the Southern Tire and Airborne Park Speedway way up North. A ride quickly developed at Airborne in the Jessey Meuller No. 19 machine so in old school fashion like the likes of Richie Evans and Jerry Cook, Friesen decided to chase NASCAR points and run on the asphalt in attempt to secure the title.

In the first feature at Airborne which had 17 cars, Friesen finished 8th and Heywood finished 3rd. The second feature, a 50-lapper, found Friesen finishing 5th and Heywood 3rd. Friesen now has 20 starts, 6 feature wins, 18 top 5s, and 19 top 10s while Heywood now has 21 starts, 5 feature wins, 18 top 5s, and 21 top 10s.

As of Monday September 8, the standings now show Friesen ahead 596-589 with only one NASCAR Whelen All-American Series event point left in New York State at Riverhead Raceway on Long Island on September 20. Friesen has a ride for this event if he wants it in an Asphalt Modified although he has a conflict with another race that day. Friesen is currently tenth in the national standings.

Should Friesen secure the New York State NASCAR Championship, his take for being that and the Utica-Rome track champion will be a staggering $25,000. And he will join a short line of some of the greatest drivers in the sport such as Richie Evans, Lou Lazzaro, and Jerry Cook to also do so with Utica-Rome as their NASCAR Home Track. This is also the same deal Dale Planck won from 1994-1996 when the groupings were in regions, instead of by state.

Will Friesen succeed? Only time will tell, but we’ll likely know the answer by September 20.  If Friesen achieves the title, everyone involved with Utica-Rome Speedway will have something to be proud of. This is a huge deal.

Previous Utica-Rome Regulars Who Were NASCAR Modified National Champions
1978 - Richie Evans
1974 - Jerry Cook
1973 - Richie Evans
1972 - Jerry Cook
1971 - Jerry Cook
1966 - Ernie Gahan

Previous Utica-Rome Regulars Who Were New York State NASCAR Modified Champions
2014 - ????
1974 - Richie Evans
1973 - Richie Evans
1972 - Lou Lazzaro
1971 - Jerry Cook
1970 - Lou Lazzaro
1969 - Lou Lazzaro
1968 - Jerry Cook

Previous Utica-Rome Regulars Who Were Regional NASCAR Modified Champions

1996 -  Dale Planck (New England)
1995 - Dale Planck (Mid America)
1994 - Dale Planck (Mid America)